Two Dutch Politicians arrived hand-in-hand at the negotiations on the formation of a new Dutch government on Monday to show support for a gay couple brutally attacked over the weekend.
D66 leader Alexander Pechtold and party member Wouter Koolmees held hands in the powerful show of solidarity.
Journalist Barbara Barend started this action with a tweet calling on all men in the Netherlands to hold hands in public, to show support. Jasper Vernes-Sewratan and Ronnie Sewratan-Vernes were attacked and beaten up by a group of young men early on Sunday morning as they were walking home from a party, holding hands.
LGBT interest organization COC wrote a letter to Edith Schippers calling for the next government to give combating violence against gays and lesbians ‘top priority’. “Getting roughed up because you love each other is too horrible for words”, COC said in the letter. The organization calls for more severe punishments for anti-LGBT violence and more information classes at schools to prevent violence.
Pechtold “absolutely” agrees with the COC call, he said to Het Parool.
According to VVD leader Mark Rutte, combating LGBT violence should always be a priority, regardless of whether a new government formation is going on. “This should be a top priority anyway. Terrible what happened”, he said.
GroenLinks leader Jesse Klaver agreed that stopping violence against LGBT people should always get attention. He called it “ludicrous” that there “are still people who think they should attack people” because of whom he or she likes. “That is bizarre, that’s just not normal and it does not fit in the Netherlands”, he said, according to the newspaper.